Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Final Frontier

If you didn't know, a plaza in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles was purchased by some Korean investors. There was some controversy to this because it seemed at the time that the Korean investors would try to change the make-up of the plaza from Japanese-themed to Korean themed. You see, there is a section in Los Angeles that is Korea Town, and the two are not close, and in fact miles apart.

On one hand, by diluting Little Tokyo with non-Japanese themed businesses, you will eventually lose a Historic and Cultural part of the Japanese Community that once thrived there.

On the other hand, it is purely a business move. Anyone, no matter what race, should be able to buy property and try to make money.

Lost in this is how the Vietnamese are opening businesses in Los Angeles Chinatown. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think there was a backlash or any mention of that.

I guess it is a little different. As the Chinese Community grew outward, "New" and "Newer" China Towns sprout up in Monterey Park, then the rest of the San Gabriel Valley, and now the Rowland Heights area.

The Japanese also moved outward, and although there may be sections of Japanese themed businesses in a particular area, none are called Little Tokyo or Japanese Town.

Incidentally, Vietnamese Towns are somewhere around Westminster and Garden Grove in Orange County, to the best of my knowledge. Thai Town is in the area just East of Hollywood. I don't know if there is anywhere that is considered Filipino Town, but I do know where Historic Filipino Town is.

How do these Towns start up? Most of the time, Immigrants from these respective Countries do not speak English and/or feel intimidated by their new land. So, to be able to communicate and feel more at home, they lived close to each other. Then they open businesses to appeal to their Customs and Cultures within these same Communities, therefore starting these separate "Towns."

So, the Koreans are taking over Japanese Town, or Little Tokyo. I can't really complain, I just hope that the "Core" part remains, so that there will always be a LIttle Tokyo and not one day, a "Historic" Little Tokyo.

HOWEVER. WTF! I apologize in advance to my Korean friends, and in fact any Korean. I am not a Racist or a Bigot. BUT, damn! Why, Why, WHY!

Part of what made the TV Series Star Trek great, was that Gene Roddenberry used actors of "Color" for the crew of the Enterprise, a Spaceship of the future. He didn't do what most of Hollywood did back then, which was hire all "white" people and if a part was "Asian," tape their eyes back.

Most people were chosen because they "fit" the part. Checkov was Russian, and so was the actor who played him. Scotty was Scottish, but played by someone of Irish ancestry, born in Canada. Dr McCoy was a real Doctor. Okay, you got me there.

About the hardest thing that Gene Roddenberry did, was fill the part for Spock. Do you know how hard it was to find a Vulcan?

Anyway, getting back to my point, Sulu was Japanese. In the New Star Trek movie, Sulu is still Sulu, but played by a Korean actor named John Cho. Mr Cho, why did you do it? There has to be a line drawn SOMEWHERE!!!! Sulu is Japanese, you didn't HAVE to take the part. Come on, it may be all we have left, and you took it from us. How can there ever be peace amongst the Asians if stuff like this happens? *pouts*

Well, one consolation, Sulu is still the Pilot, at least they kept an Asian driver to drive the Enterprise. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SpeedShanked Redemption

I hadn't been to Las Vegas in YEARS. I was never much into gambling, and I don't drink. I only went with friends, and to eat my ass off at Buffets. I guess I ate my ass ON at Buffets. Anyway, last February, I finally went with my good Las Vegas loving friend. I was disappointed. I now know that I don't care much for gambling anymore. But I did play the Mega-Bucks, most of the time. It was the highest Jackpot it had ever been, at more than 34 Million dollars. Needless to say, I didn't win a Mega-anything. And though I did have some good Buffets, I can't eat as much as I used to, so I didn't get more than my moneys worth, which is the rule. Right?

With little to do, I decided to go see some sights. Lake Mead was only 30 minutes away, so I went.


I got a speeding ticket in Boulder City, going back to Las Vegas. Now, now, don't Judge. After making the turn onto Highway 93/95 from Lake Mead Parkway, there were no Speed Limit signs. BUT, there were 2 separate "Slower Traffic Keep To The Right" signs. These signs are placed only for Large Trucks and Vehicles towing trailers, because they are limited to 55 MPH. That suggests that the posted speed limit is more than 55 MPH. And why not? A Highway in Nevada? 65 seems to be the minimum everywhere you look.

But, in the portion that cuts through Boulder City, it is 45 MPH. When you go to Boulder City via Highway 93/95 FROM Las Vegas, there are speed limit signs AND signs that state "Reduced Speed Ahead" just before you get to the Boulder City City limits. But no such signs exist from the opposite side, coming from Lake Mead/Hoover Dam area into Boulder City. There was only ONE 45 MPH speed limit sign about a half mile past the Boulder City border sign.

So, as soon as I saw that sign, I started slowing down. Too late, since I was well into the Boulder City limits, the BC Police Officer had Radar-ed me at 65 and then wrote me up for 50 MPH, probably the speed I was when he caught up to me, after I saw the 45 MPH sign.

I had told the Officer that I did not see any Speed Limit signs, and he told me that there were at least 3 of them. I didn't argue with him. The Officer was just doing his job, and he was very Professional about it. After giving me my ticket, I went back and retraced my route. I was correct, there were NO speed Limit signs, at least not 3 that the Officer mentioned. I took out my trusty Flip Video and recorded the whole scene, from Lake Mead Parkway, to where I was pulled over.

The reason that there were no signs, was because they were doing road work on the shoulder. I don't know the area before, so I am assuming that the Officer was telling the truth and there was at one time, Speed Limit signs. The important part was, they were not there at the time I was ticketed. I thought I had reasonable proof that although I was speeding, the lack of proper signage would vindicate my actions.

So, I decided to fight the ticket. Why not, I have nothing to lose, and the Officer may not show up and I'd win.

BIG MISTAKE #2 (Condensed Version)

They have a different Court procedure for traffic tickets in Boulder City. First you have a hearing. That's what I was appearing for, I thought it was Court. After going through all the DUI's and other citations, they got to me. They asked me how I would plea and I said "Not Guilty." So they asked me what day I would like to return. What? The Officer didn't show up, and all I was there for was to make a plea? Okay, I made a date. They gave me some paperwork, which I didn't read until today, and found out my Court date was actually a Pre-Trial hearing. This is where a Boulder City Representative and I meet, and negotiate plea deal. If a deal can not be made to settle the matter, THEN an actual Court date is scheduled.

So, I meet the City representative, a Mr Booker. He shakes my hand, smiles, and starts looking over the paper work. He tells me that it isn't so bad and he can reduce the ticket to something without any Points on my record, and I pay close to $200. I said, "That's fine. But I also want to discuss that fact that there were no Speed Limit signs. He tells me there are signs, and in fact, he drives that way to and from work every day, so he knows there are signs there. (Unless he lives in the Lake Mead recreational area, Hoover Dam, or the Hotel Casino near Hoover Dam, he doesn't drive this Highway everyday.) I tell him that I had just drove that same stretch, and the only signs up now, were temporary 35 MPH signs, leaning on Orange Traffic cones. He looks at me like I'm nuts. I tell him I have Video. He said, "I don't have to look at your Video, I know there are signs there." I say, "You won't look at my Video, even though I have proof there were no signs there?" He relents, and then tells me, "For a Firefighter, you sure are a pain in the ass."

I show him the Video, we discuss how and if 65 MPH is safe to drive on that street. He glances at my video every now and then, no signs showing up, and before it's even a quarter done, he says he doesn't have to look at it anymore, and that traveling at 65 MPH in that area is extremely dangerous and that I would "fall off the edge." I say, "Fall off the edge? What edge?" Then he throws a hissy-fit and says, "You want a Court date? You want a Judge to decide this? I'll get you a Court date, let's see what we have available."

Big Mistake #3

Probably, but who cares now. It's obvious to me by the un-professional manner that the City representative had, that I was going to get bent over no matter what. The ticket given to me wasn't really for speeding. It was because I was from out of State, and most of us would just pay the fine and go to Traffic School. Boulder City just wanted $187 extra dollars in their coffers.

Unfortunately for them, I can't go to traffic School because I have a Commercial license, all Firefighters in LA do. We have stricter limitations, even with Blood Alcohol limits. And I have the time to fight the ticket.

So here I am. Now my goal is to make Boulder City Nevada work for it's money. Someone will have to get off their ass and go to Court to go against me. Will I win? I doubt it. Boulder City is small. I bet that everyone knows everyone and their spouses, children, and pets too.

I would like some suggestions from you out there. Maybe you may know better than me.

Can I/Should I;

Ask for a Jury Trial?

Ask for the Traffic Speed Surveys for the Highway?

Ask for Statistics on Accidents there? The number of Citations given? How many are given to people from Out-of-State?

Anything else? You have until August 20 to let me know. That's my, hopefully, final Court appearance.

I'm not going to win. But Boulder City is gonna spend more money for this ticket than they are going to get from me. heh heh heh

The way things are going, I'll probably end up in Jail after my Court date. Probably for murder, or child molestation. In Jail, I'll probably waste away. Would some of you come to visit me? If you do, don't speed in Boulder City.